The Storyteller (1987) s01e08 Episode Script

The Heartless Giant

When people told themselves their past with stories explained their present with stories foretold the future with stories the best place by the fire was kept for The Storyteller.
On the whole there's absolutely no need to be frightened of giants.
Giants are gentle, perfectly harmless, very affectionate.
Unless, of course, the giant has no heart in his body.
Think of all kinds of unpleasant things and add "giant" to them and that's what you get when a giant has no heart.
Such a giant once terrorized a country in the far north of the world, near the very top.
He'd hidden his heart.
It gave him too much trouble, all those giant feelings.
"In its place was a wasps" nest about to swarm.
This giant could crack a skull with his fist like a walnut and frequently did.
Until, at last, the old king of that country as good as the giant was bad trapped him in a giant trap and locked him in a giant cell.
Good.
Very good.
And there he stayed for many a year.
And all would have been well but for a small problem.
A small problem called Leo youngest of the king's three sons.
He is so curious.
Now, there's a dark place he's forbidden to visit.
His brothers tell him a giant lives there with no heart but he doesn't believe it.
I don't believe it.
Hello, down there.
Who's that? Are you a giant? Rattle once if you're a giant, and twice if you're not.
Do you have a heart, then? Once for yes, and twice for no.
A giant with no heart in his body.
The little prince runs off his imagination ablaze, he's so excited.
There's a giant with no heart living in the castle.
Next morning he's up at the crack and running past his mother - Leo, where are you off to? - Nowhere.
- Can you hear me? - Yes.
Why are you down there? Because, long ago, I did some bad things.
This is my punishment.
I've been here for years and years.
Unless I'm let out soon, I will surely die.
- Don't worry, I'll go and tell my father.
- No.
Don't tell anybody.
Please.
Would you like to be my friend? - Yes, please.
- Good.
- He's bad, that giant.
- Oh, yes.
Day after day, the little prince comes visiting.
He wants to tell the whole world about his friend.
But he can't so he mustn't, so he won't.
And in the dark, dank, black of the dungeon the heartless giant plots and plans.
The keys to my locks, do you know where they're kept? - I don't.
No.
- Long ago, a guard said the king kept the keys by his bed.
Those keys? They're huge, they're massive.
I thought they must be for the crown jewels.
No, they're for me.
They're for my misery.
Do you know something? I think if I got those old keys and let you out, nobody would even realise.
No, that's not right.
This is my punishment.
I deserve it.
It's not fair that you're chained down there.
I bet that chain hurts your legs.
Only sometimes.
I don't care what you say.
I'm going to go and get those keys.
And so, that very night Leo crept into the room where the king and queen were sleeping.
It's me.
I've got the keys.
Who goes there? - Hurry.
- They're too big.
- They can't be.
Push them.
- I'm trying.
Don't forget to let me have them back.
What's happening? What's happened? Are we attacked? - The giant, my lord, he's escaped.
- Father, what's happening? The giant has escaped.
Leo.
Go back to your room.
It's not safe.
How could he have escaped after all this time? He had the keys, my lord.
Then someone helped him.
Someone betrayed us.
A madman.
Only a madman would help a giant with no heart.
It's starting again.
Leo, I said get back to your room.
- Poor boy.
- That's right.
"Someone betrayed us.
" "Only a madman would help a giant with no heart.
" The boy's face swam with tears.
So let down, he felt.
So stupid.
And from that moment, the boy in him the innocent heart, the joy in him they were gone like his friend, and they would never return.
- Brother, where are you going? - I am going to get back the giant.
- Now, wish me luck and get back to bed.
- Good luck.
I'm sorry.
But his brother didn't hear.
He'd gone to find the giant and he didn't come back.
Brother, where are you going? - To find our brother and to kill the giant.
- But he'll trick you.
Wish me luck.
Terrible, our boy felt, as his brother rode off.
Terrible.
And this brother didn't come back either.
Mother? Your father says he intends to go off to fight the giant.
He can't.
He mustn't.
I've lost two sons already.
He's too old.
He's too ill.
- Don't cry.
- Leo, promise me you won't ever go.
But he can't promise.
How can he? Were it not for him the heartless giant would still be chained and locked and safe in the dungeon.
No, he did the damage, he must repair it.
So, off, madness, off, folly off, for goodness sake, to find the giant and put an end to his cruelty.
And so the young prince Leo rides the land in search of his once-friend, the heartless giant.
Three winters come and go their bitter shiver until, one day, he comes to a place and knows he's in the giant's cruel footsteps.
"Help me," cries a trampled bird.
"The giant broke me and now I cannot fly, cannot eat.
Help me.
" And Leo tended the bird, fixed its wing, fed it bread soaked in milk and soon all was well with it.
"Thank you," cried the bird.
"If you need me, I shan't forget.
" Not long after, he stops at a stream and he hears a flapping, hears a thrashing, hears a slapping.
"Help me," cries the choking fish.
"Help me back into the water.
"I'm stuck here, I'm stranded, I'm beached-up and landed.
" Now, Leo's famished, and he loves a fish but he's suffered sufficient, this fellow.
Back he goes to where the salmon is king.
"Thank you," cries the fish.
I'd have scoffed him, if he was so hungry.
I like fish.
Would you? Listen.
He goes on a little further, and now his horse gives up the ghost.
His old horse who's carried the prince a 1,000 miles and more sinks slowly to his knees and rolls over on his side and dies.
So did the prince eat his horse? No, he didn't, he couldn't.
He lay down beside it, famished and forlorn.
He shuts his eyes, squeezing back tears drifting into dreams.
It's his mother nursing him.
Licking up his wet cheeks, hugging him.
Don't move.
Terrible teeth glistening.
I've not eaten since the winter came.
Help me, let me eat your horse.
I'll eat it and be strong again.
Trust me.
But how can Leo trust anyone? He's trusted before and been betrayed.
That's right.
Let the wolf starve.
Please, or I must surely die.
No, don't do it.
Eat your fill.
And if you must then, afterwards, eat me.
And the wolf eats the horse and sucks the bones until there's not a scrap left, save the reins.
Master, come here.
Oh, no.
- Am I to go now? - Yes, us both.
I'll help you.
On my back, sir.
Let's leave this place.
And he does and they do.
And they go a grey dash a day and a night and a morning until they come at last to a garden full with statues.
Stone men, stone women stone soldiers.
- This is my brother.
- This is the giant's work.
There is his house.
All who approach, he turns to stone.
Oh, no, look.
You, too.
You're so cold.
The giant was my friend.
He really was.
He's no one's friend.
He has no heart in his body.
Then I must find his heart.
Where did you get that drum? It's mine.
It's me, Leo.
Prince Leo? Yes, it is you.
I can see now.
Are you the same as your brothers come to challenge me? No, I come in guilt.
Either you will take me in, or I must go into exile.
Guilty? About what? That you set me free? You were a child.
I had to fool you to get the keys.
Otherwise, I'd still be there, rotting.
But stay if you like.
No tricks though, no traps.
Else you'll end up the same as your brothers.
No tricks, no traps, agreed the boy and went inside.
He's a servant now for the heartless giant.
For weeks he cleans, for weeks he scours until spick where speck was, and span where squalor.
Each evening, the giant returns from his wild outings to find the fire lit, the hearth swept, and his trousers pressed.
He likes this.
Very nice.
- Very nice.
- Thank you.
I should have had a servant before.
And I don't treat you bad, do I? For a heartless giant? So what happened to your heart? It's in safekeeping.
Can't feel without it, can I? Can't get hurt, can't die from the breaking of it.
Clever.
So where is it, then? He who pries is prone to die.
Do you follow me? Yes.
But I'll tell you if you want to know.
My heart's in that cupboard.
In the cupboard.
His own heart pounds and he can hardly wait until the morning.
But no heart.
Oh, no.
The heart's not there at all.
I'm back.
Evening, sir.
- What's that smell? - Polish.
What are you polishing that old cupboard for? It's the home of your heart, it should be polished.
Did you really think I kept my heart in a cupboard? What a dimble.
- It's not there, then.
- Of course it's not.
I see.
It's under the step.
So the next morning, off stomps the giant and out goes our boy, digging out the steps.
Stone, dust, roots but no heart.
I'm back.
What's that? You must have trodden on the step.
I painted it.
What a dafflebox.
You thought my heart was under the step.
- Have these off, then.
- Sir.
The fact is no one can find my heart.
I'll tell you exactly where it is and you'll still not be able to find it.
Far away, so far you cannot fathom it so high you cannot climb it, is a mountain.
And in the mountain is a lake, and in the lake is an island in the island is a church, in the church is a well in the well is a duck, in the duck is an egg, and in the egg is my heart.
I see.
No, not so easy, little thief not such a diddle and a doddle as you thought.
No.
Your father tricked me once and I shan't be tricked again.
An egg in a duck, in a well, in a church, in an island, in a lake in a mountain? Impossible.
But that night Leo steals away and calls for his friend, the wolf.
Up he gets and tight he holds, and off they go.
Headlong, a breathless blur of world flashing by.
And they're at the mountain clambering, scrambling and then there's a lake, and there's the church.
But the church is locked, and the door will not budge.
"Look," said the wolf and there, impossibly high, dangled the key.
We'll never reach it.
Thank you, my friend.
And in they go, into the church where they find the well.
And sure enough, in the well swims a duck.
Come on.
Oh, no.
Now what? - What's that? - It's the fish.
It's my fish.
- Catch it.
- I've got it.
I've got the giant's heart.
Thank you, my friend.
I've got it.
Where have you been? I've a good mind to crack your ears.
I've a good mind to set you there with your brothers.
Stop that.
Years ago, sir, you broke my heart.
Now I shall break yours.
No, be careful.
Please don't break that.
I will, I will break it.
I will squeeze it and squeeze it to bits, unless you release my brothers and all these poor people.
Yes.
I'll do anything you ask.
Look, I'm doing it.
There.
Brother, you've rescued us.
Praise the lord, our little brother.
- Now, quick, smash the egg.
- No.
I'm going to give it back.
- Don't be stupid.
- I've done as you bid.
Can I have my heart? You can, sir, as I promised.
For I know that with your heart in place you could not be as you are now.
- No.
- Now, villain for years I've stood here helpless, and watched your cruelty.
The folk he's beaten.
The vile murders.
Please, don't.
Kill him! Like with like, spite with spite.
Don't! I promised! All the pain you've caused, I now repay.
You promised.
What's happening? There was a wasps' nest where his heart should have been.
And where the giant fell, a hill grew.
And in time and when much was long forgot the place was still known as the hill of the heartless giant.
But he would have changed, that giant.
He would've reformed with his heart back.
Yes, I know.
Cruel.
But do you know, Prince Leo lived to be a great age became king, had 42 grandchildren and he told them all that tale.
But in his story the giant got back his heart and made amends for all his wrongs.
Because, you see, despite all that took place a little boy once met a giant and they became friends.